My name is Ploisky David, I'm known as Yurek, my name in the Holocaust.
Like many others, due to the circumstances I became my family's breadwinner, which is something I don't wish on any family. The food rations the Germans gave the Warsaw Ghetto were so meager, that if it wasn't for all sorts of smuggling the extermination camps would have been redundant.
I smuggled kosher meat by instruction of my pious father from the Otfotsk ghetto to the Warsaw ghetto. I did it by all kinds of ways. Some I smuggled in the trams that crossed the ghetto. I had to get in, bribe the conductor and the policeman and jump into the ghetto. I came out the same way.
Another method was passage houses. There were two such houses, one in the small ghetto on Zwota-Shenna Street, and the other in the big ghetto, on Kojla Fretta St. The houses were adjacent, so that the facade was on the Arian side. You could walk into the yard and get to pass through by paying off the tenant or the janitor. When these avenues were blocked because the Germans couldn't stop this smuggling, with everyone doing it, small children smuggling food in their shirts and pants, or people like me, or professional traders, or people who went on forced labor and smuggled in food, they stopped the trams, cut off the passage houses and made the ghetto smaller. I had to follow the wall, watch for the policeman, throw the bags over the wall and try to climb after them. When I succeeded, I jumped in, took the bags and sold the merchandise with my sister Esther-Miriam. If people ambushed me on the other side I had to stay out lose the merchandise, and come to mother empty-handed. But this is nothing compared to kids who couldn't do it, and their families could not feed them. Nothing is more terrible than death by hunger. The breadwinning son comes home, and it's a ceremony: they must know who did I see and what did I hear and how is the sister and the many uncles and aunts. Because there's no post, no paper, no radio. A few street blocks seem as remote as America. I start peeling off layers and tell my mother: This is for that, and this cost that much. But she knows it better than I do. For the breadwinning son, and I don't wish on any family to be supported by a child, they keep a small casserole of soup. For a whole year I report to mother, get from her instructions for the next day, and eat my casserole of soup.
You don't even have to wash it afterward because I lick it dry. I had a brother, Kubush, Kuba, his name was Yitzak-Yaakov, a genius, and he raised his head and said: "Dadek..." at home they called me David "You ate it all? By yourself?" I said yes. So he turns around, stuffs his blanket into his mouth, and weeps quietly. I've been hearing him weep ever since.
I ask mother why is Kuba crying?
She starts crying too.
I say: "Mama, what happened? Why is Kuba crying?"
And she says: "This is all we have left."
It turned out, that after I paid the railway worker, the tram worker, the Polish cop, the Jewish cop... and these vultures often snatched a package from me. From that day on I started collecting dry bread leftovers from the market stands after the bakers had gone. I'd break them into bits, because I couldn't chew, swallow them, go home, take four spoons from my soup, and lie to mother that today someone invited me to lunch. My mother knew I was lying. No one invited you. And then they would share the soup, equally, each taking a few spoons of my cherished soup.